Hoof and Mouth: Cure worse than disease?

From what I’ve read, Hoof and Mouth disease is not fatal to livestock- it only decreases their productivity. And IIRC, humans don’t get sick from it at all, although they can carry it.

So why is it considered such a horrible plauge that the cattle of entire regions must be slaughtered to try to prevent its spread? Isn’t that a greater loss to the cattle industry than the disease itself would be?

It seems like putting people in quarantine for having the flu would be.

The disease itself isn’t fatal. What happens though is that the animals mouths can get so ulcerated that they stop eating and will starve themselves to death.

The disease is extremely contagious. By culling entire herds (not “the cattle of entire regions”, but the entire stock on infected farms) and destroying the carcasses, the agricultural authorities are hoping to stop the disease from spreading. The theory is that killing all the animals that might be infected will ultimately be better for the industry than letting the disease spread unchecked.

Yes, there are some who argue that this is, you should pardon the pun, overkill. But there is logic behind it.

Well, I guess its a matter of not wanting sick animals as well. There are plenty of non-fatal human diseases that I sure wouldn’t want. Healthy animals are just better than sick ones. I don’t know if hoof and mouth is easily cured (if curable at all) but its probably better that the disease is controlled sooner rather than later.

Disclaimer: I am neither a veterinarian nor a farmer, and am just going on whatever garbage the news services have seen fit to report.

From what the news stories have mentioned, comparing hoof-and-mouth to “the flu” is like comparing leg amputation to trimming your toenails. One story mentioned a 30% to 50% death rate for newborn calves as a result of the disease. Others have mentioned significant loss of meat and milk production from infected animals (no percentages given).

Apparently it’s better to have one really bad year, slaughtering and burning all of the even potentially infected animals, than it would be to have the disease spread through the entire population and lower production permanently. Tragic.